Author's Note: I don't own Andromeda or Transformers. I'm only borrowing them. I'll try to minimize the typos in this fic, but there are no guarantees! BTW, this fic takes place during the fourth season of Andromeda, with Rhade instead of Tyr. Rhade meets the Autobots!
The Andromeda Ascendant shuddered as a shot from the Magog scout ship behind them narrowly missed. The crew held onto their consoles to keep from being thrown across the bridge. From the tactical station, Telemachus Rhade swore in Nietzschean.
"I agree with you there, Rhade" Seamus Harper commented from another station.
"Cut the chatter," Captain Dylan Hunt ordered. "Focus on getting us out of here in one piece. Harper, is that missile ready yet?"
"Almost, boss." Harper hit several buttons.
"Launch the damn thing!"
"It's not ready!"
The Andromeda suddenly lurched, almost rolling over onto her side as she received a direct hit from the Magog. Alarms screamed out dire warnings. Rommie, the ship's avatar, was sent skidding across the bridge from the force. She managed to grab hold of a rail before she hit the opposite wall. Dylan barely managed to cling to the console as the command deck tilted nearly vertical. Rhade had no problem holding on, but Harper went flying into the wall. Trance Gemini, on the other side of the bridge, held on for dear life.
With difficulty, the ship righted herself, lurching back to a horizontal base. Harper crawled back to his station and resumed trying to get the missile ready to launch. Andromeda was helping as best she could while trying to keep from receiving another direct hit. He wrestled with the controls.
Harper hit the button. The missile streaked out of the silo just as the Magog ship prepared to fire again. The Magog ship was about to fire when the missile hit.
The Magog ship detonated, setting off the shots it had been about to fire. The ship blew into a raging cloud of gas and debris. The shockwave was swiftly closing on the Andromeda.
"We can't outrun it!"
"Brace for impact!"
Seconds later, the shockwave hit.
The ship was flung forward, gaining speed with every passing second. The g-forces were incredible. On the main screen, space dissolved into a chaotic mess of swirling colors, ceaselessly changing and clashing in blinding flashes. The colors seemed to line a writhing tunnel, like a slipstream tunnel, but different. A piercing shriek split the air, going through the crew like a hot needle. Rhade screamed, clutching his head in agony, the sound too much for his enhanced senses to endure. Harper clamped his hands over his ears and squeezed his eyes shut. Dylan pressed his hands over his own ears, trying to block out the sound, but it was no use. The sound was too intense. He felt as if his head was going to explode from the inside.
Suddenly, it was gone.
Cautiously, Dylan peeled one hand away from his ear. The sound was gone. He lowered his hands and looked around.
Harper was huddled in the corner, in the process of screwing up the nerve to get up. Beka was wiping thin trails of blood from her ears and nose, an indicator of the raw force of that sound. Trance was trying to gather her scattered wits, standing as still as a statue, gripping the rail with white-knuckled hands, staring straight ahead. Rommie was hauling herself back to her feet.
"Rommie? Are you okay?"
"I will be," she answered. "That sound played merry hell with my systems."
"Rhade?" Dylan asked, looking around for the Nietzschean. He got no answer. "Rhade?"
Still no response. Dylan walked over to the console and looked behind it.
Rhade lay on the deck, unconscious, blood oozing from his ears and nose. The sound had hit him hard.
The gold alien snapped out of her daze and turned to look at him. "Dylan?"
"Rhade needs medical attention." Dylan indicated the unconscious Nietzschean. "That sound hit him the hardest."
Trance nodded. She pried her hands off the rail and walked over to kneel beside the unconscious Rhade. Then she called for an antigrav lifter to get him to the medical deck.
Dylan watched her leave, following the lifter carrying Rhade, before turning his attention to the rest of the bridge crew. They were still in various stages of recovering. A damage report scrolled across one of the bridge monitors. The main screen was blank. As he watched, it flickered several times, then came online. It showed only grey snow as static hissed silently while Andromeda worked to get it up and running again.
"Are the sensors operational?" Dylan asked.
"Good. See if you can tell where we are."
The image of Andromeda's AI went still for a long moment as she worked the sensors, scanning space for clues as to their location. Finally she returned her attention to her captain.
"I do not recognize this part of space," she announced.
"This area of space is unknown."
"Is there anything nearby? An asteroid, a star?"
"Negative." She paused. "Wait. I am reading something."
"What is it?"
"Unknown. It is the size of a large planet, but there are no stars nearby that it could belong to. I am also reading the complete absence of any of the normal planetary substances. There are four smaller masses orbiting it."
"Can you get the screen working?"
She didn't respond. She didn't have to. Just as Dylan finished the question, the screen flickered and lit up with the image of the object Andromeda had detected.
"What in the hell...?" Beka breathed.
"Sure looks like a planet to me," Harper commented.
"It does," Dylan responded absently.
Between the pinpricks of distant stars hung a dark orb, a dark mass adrift in space. Andromeda saw Dylan's hand heading for his console and increased the magnification on the screen. The object immediately jumped into clear view.
It was a planet.
The planet was not natural. That much was obvious. Natural planets made of metal simply did not exist.
The metal world was huge, larger than most Dylan had ever seen, but it had a surprisingly low gravity for its size. Its surface was dotted with ruined cities and marked with deep gouges that tore deep rents in its crust. Cold starlight glittered weakly off the torn metal, and dimly revealed the twisted, melted wreckage left behind by the explosions of powerful missiles and massive guns. A terrible war had torn the planet asunder.
Four moons circled the planet, all four as metallic as the world they orbited. Spikes and projections stuck off in a hundred different directions. Two of the moons clearly sported offensive or defensive moonbases. All four were as battered and torn as the planet below.
"What's that?" Beka asked, pointing to a section of the planet's eastern hemisphere.
"Andromeda, magnify," Dylan requested.
The image jumped again, highlighting the area Beka had pointed out. Harper whistled from the rear of the command deck.
A massive gash ran from near the northern pole to the southern pole, tearing deep into the planet. For hundreds of miles around it was a vast wasteland of torn and melted metal. The gaping wound revealed some of the planet's interior, showing numerous levels that indicated that the planet had been built outward from the core. As each layer was finished, a new layer took form on top of it. At the very bottom of the chasm was a twisted pile of slag, the remains of the collapsed levels. From the look of the damage, it appeared that the metal had been melted, the molten metal had pooled at the bottom, and then cooled. The metal plains around the gash were melted and destroyed. The ruins of half-melted cities poked out of the debris farther away from the hole. As the distance from the deep gash increased, the damage was not as extensive. Something terrible had happened there.
"What in the universe could have done that?" Beka asked. "I've never heard of a weapon capable of doing that much damage."
"Incoming ship," Andromeda suddenly announced.
"On viewer," Dylan ordered.
The image changed to show the approaching ship. It was orange-yellow in color, with a forward section shaped like a disk cut in half. The rear section was cargo bays and the massive, powerful engines. The ship was easily as big as or bigger that Andromeda.
"We're being scanned," Andromeda reported. "I'm detecting a tractor beam locking onto us."
The ship shuddered as the tractor beam locked on. The beam was far more powerful than anything any member of Andromeda's crew had ever encountered before.
"Where are they taking us?" Harper asked.
"Our current heading will take us to one of the moonbases," Andromeda replied.
The bridge door hissed open. Dylan turned to see a recovered Rhade walk onto the command deck. Rhade opened his mouth to speak, but the sight of the metal planet and its four moons arrested him before he could say a word. His jaw dropped in amazement.
The moonbase was even more impressive up close. Andromeda was guided to a docking bay that housed ships even larger than the one towing her. The ships were clearly meant for a race far larger than any human or humanoid.
As Andromeda neared the docking clamps, the tractor beam disengaged. Beka piloted the ship in to a smooth approach. She guided Andromeda neatly into place. As soon as she was in place, a docking tube extended from the wall of the bay and connected to the ship's airlock. There was a dull clang as the tube locked into place.
"I guess we go over there," Dylan commented.
With Rhade, Harper, Beka, Trance, and Rommie in tow, Dylan walked down the docking tube and emerged into the moonbase.
"Wow," Harper whispered.
The corridor was huge. The ceiling was easily one hundred feet high. The walls were of a golden-orange metal. Dylan touched the closest wall. The metal was slightly warm, and he could feel the vibration of machinery behind it. The air was a bit thin, but it was breathable, and smelled of lubricants and hot metal.
"Whoever built this place must be huge," Rhade commented. "Those control panels are forty feet off the floor." He pointed up at one of the panels. Some of the touchpads were lit, but others were dark. One blinked slightly. The panel was marked in an alien script.
"I'm not sure I want to meet who built this place," Beka muttered.
"I don't think we have any choice," Dylan told them. "I can feel the vibrations of several large objects moving. And they're heading this way."
Within a few moments, the thunder of multiple footfalls was echoing through the corridor. Dylan made out two sets of footsteps. The walkers would have to be extremely large to have steps that heavy.
The walkers came around a bend in the corridor and stopped, looking down at the stunned crew of the Andromeda.
Both creatures were clearly robotic. Their hides were made of metal and painted in bright colors. One, the largest of the two, was the most impressive. The creature was white in color, with a blue marking or plate on its chest. Massive wings stretched out from behind it, each wing with a red stripe down the middle. A red pack or case of some sort rose up behind its head. Its body was marked with black in places, and the was red down the outsides of its lower legs. Two blue optics fixed on the Andromeda crew.
The second robot was not as large. It was blue and white in color, with a sleek, streamlined design. There was a strange crest on top of its helmet. It was clearly designed for speed.
"Dylan, look at their insignias," Beka hissed.
Both robots bore red insignias shaped like faces. That symbol was very familiar. The five visitors who had appeared on Andromeda three years previously had born that symbol. They'd explained that it was the symbol of their faction.
"I assume you two are Autobots," Dylan told the two.
"We are," the red and white one confirmed. "I am Skyfire..."
"AndmynameisBlurr," the blue and white one cut in. "Ihaven'tseenyoubeforenoIhaven'twhereareyoufrom?"
"Do I suddenly have a hearing problem?" Beka asked.
"Is this guy for real?" Harper wanted to know.
"Unfortunately," Skyfire grumbled. "Blurr is sometimes too much for anyone to handle, be they human or Autobot."
"I can see why," Dylan responded. "He's more of a talker than Harper here is."
"Ha ha ha, very funny, boss," Harper grumbled.
"At least you can understand Harper," Skyfire pointed out. "Very few can understand a word Blurr says. Most of us have to tell him to slow down to a more manageable speed. And even then he's too fast for most of us."
"WheredidyoucomefromI'veneverseenanyofyoubeforewhywon'tyoutellme?" Blurr asked plaintively.
"Did anyone catch any of that?" Rhade asked, finally finding his voice.
"He asked where you came from, and commented that he's never seen you before," Skyfire translated.
"You won't know us," Dylan told them. "Where might we find Rodimus Prime?"
"I'll take you to him," Skyfire offered.
The group followed Skyfire down the corridors to another shuttle bay. It was smaller than the one the Andromeda was docked in, and had an atmosphere in it, held in by a forcefield.
"This bay is for those Autobots with space-going alternate modes," Skyfire explained. "We frequently have passengers, so we need to be able to let them board and disembark without being exposed to cold vacuum."
Skyfire transformed to his alternate mode, a huge red and white jet. The Andromeda crew boarded, settling in Skyfire's passenger bay next to one of the windows. As Skyfire exited the bay, they looked down at the planet they now knew was Cybertron, the Transformer homeworld. Rodimus had told them about his home planet during his brief stay on the Andromeda three years before.
"Hey, boss!" Harper's voice jolted Dylan out of his thoughts. "Look!"
A metal shape was just coming into view around Cybertron's far side. It was easily the size of Cybertron's "natural" moons, but was more triangular in shape, with curved, hornlike projections rising from the top. As it approached, they realized that it didn't just look strange, it was something so utterly impossible that it stunned them all into awed silence.
The shape was a moon-sized head, the green optics shattered, the mouth open slightly, broken circuits and tubes dangling from the stump of the neck. An orange helmet surrounded a silver face that somehow managed to radiate an aura of unspeakable evil even in death. The curved shapes were huge horns rising from the top of the helmet. The orange metal was pitted and scarred from laser fire, and something had badly scorched the underside. The forked metal beard was seared black all along the edge. As the humans and humanoids watched, the head passed them and slid out of sight around Cyberton's eastern horizon.
"What was that?" Dylan asked Skyfire.
"That's all that's left of Unicron. If his head is that big, imagine how big his body would have been. It was Unicron's assault that tore that huge hole in Cybertron's surface."
"Unicron was a planet-sized monster. He traveled as a gigantic ringed planet with pincers, and ate every planet he encountered. He just grabbed them in his pincers and ripped them apart. We have no idea how many worlds he devoured before he found us. He ate two of Cybertron's moons and was about to rip Cybertron apart when Rodimus destroyed him. That was when Rodimus became our Prime. He opened the Matrix, unleashing its power. Unicron's head blew off his shoulders and entered orbit around Cybertron just before his body exploded. His head now serves as a reminder of the near destruction of our world."
"How is it that you know these Autobots?" Rhade asked.
"Three years ago, five of them passed through a dimensional breach, just like we did. They were Rodimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Jazz, Springer, and Perceptor. They were guests on board Andromeda until we managed to help them get home. During their stay they taught us a great deal about their world and their society." Dylan nodded toward the rapidly-approaching planet below. "None of us ever expected to see Cybertron as anything but one of the holograms they showed us."
Skyfire's hull glowed faintly as he descended into Cybertron's thin atmosphere. He flew over the deep chsm in Cybertron's surface and headed for one of the larger ruined cities. In the center of the city was a walled compound.
"Autobase," Skyfire told them. "It was once the center of government for the city-state of Iacon. Now Iacon is in ruins and Autobase is a fortress."
The landing facility was just outside of Autobase's walls. Skyfire touched down neatly and lowered his boarding ramp. Cautiously, the Andromeda crew descended to Cybertron's surface.
The ruined city extended in every direction as far as the eye could see. In the far distance, glimpsed between the heaped rubble, was a semi-erect metal dome. There were huge holes in it.
"That's the old transit station," Skyfire explained, transforming and following their gazes. "It's similar to the subway system on Earth, but much faster. It hasn't been used in eons."
"Eons?" Rhade gawked.
"They live a very long time," Dylan told him. "Rodimus said he was something like four million years old, and considered a teenager by the standards of his race. He said that one of his advisors is over twenty million."
"That would be Kup," Skyfire identified. "And he's older that that."
Beka sniffed the air. The atmosphere was very thin, and carried the sharp scent of burned metal. The smells of lubricants and the gasoline-like fluid that served the Transformers as blood warred for dominance over charred steel and plastic-like materials. She nearly gagged as the smells filled her nose. "How can anybody breathe this air?"
Skyfire looked down at her as he led them toward Autobase's massive gates. "The humans who work with us get used to the smell after a while. Most of them don't even notice it anymore. It doesn't bother us because we don't really need to breathe. The only reason we breathe at all is too cool our systems and to keep from overheating. While we do have keen senses of smell, we ignore it."
He punched in a complex code and the gates creaked open. While the humans and humanoids passed through, Skyfire watched the distant horizons for any sign of approaching danger. Once everyone was through the gates, he slipped through and allowed them to close.
"New friends?" the gatekeeper called down.
"Visitors, Eject," Skyfire corrected. "I'm taking them to see Rodimus."
"The head honcho's in his office," Eject told him. He waved to them and turned his attention to his duty.
"He's rather small," Rommie noted.
"Eject is one of Blaster's cassettes. He and his brothers transform into cassette tapes. All four of them fit into Blaster's chest compartment."
As the entered the walled city, they saw many other Autobots. Most of them were scratched and dented in dozens of places. All of them eyed the newcomers curiously, wondering where they'd come from and what their business was. Skyfire greeted most of them as he passed them.
"What do we have here?"
The new voice made the Andromeda crew turn around to look at the speaker. Behind them stood a grey Autobot. The Autobot radiated the feel of great age. He stared down at them.
"Hi, Kup," Skyfire greeted. "These are our visitors. I'm taking them to see Rodimus."
Kup nodded slightly. "He knows them?"
"Yes, he does."
The old Autobot grunted and continued on his way.
"Don't mind him," Skyfire advised. "He's an old grouch. And here we are."
He approached a door and pressed a button on the panel beside it. A moment later a voice called them in. Skyfire tripped the sensor and the door slid open.
The room was a good-sized office. It held a massive desk and several chairs. The desk was piled with datapads. Behind it sat a red and orange Autobot. He looked up as they entered.
"Prime. I brought some visitors to see you." Skyfire pointed down. Rodimus stood to look over the desk. Then he grinned and walked out from behind it.
Dylan stared. Beka made a surprised sound. Harper's jaw dropped. Rommie tilted her head. Trance blinked. Rhade's jaw worked, but no sound came out.
"Eye-blinding" barely began to describe Rodimus's coloration.
His main body was bright orange. His helmet, midsection, and hips were two shades of red. His arms were red, with orange on his forearms. His upper legs were the same bright orange as his chestplate. His lower legs were black. A brilliant yellow spoiler rose from his back, like a strange pair of wings. He resembled a living flame. As if that wasn't enough, there was a bright yellow flame design on his chest, and the red Autobot insignia dominated the design. He looked strangely bulky, but moved with surprising grace for his size. Blue optics flashed with recognition.
"Hello again," he commented.
"So this is what you look like," Harper noted.
"Yeah. This is me." Rodimus looked down at himself. "Before you make any comments, I didn't get much of a choice when they colored me."
"I wasn't going to say anything."
Rodimus gave Harper a look that clearly said "Yeah, sure."
Rhade blinked several times. "That has to be the strangest combination of colors I've ever seen. One thing's for sure. No one will ever be able to overlook you. Not with colors like that."
"You'd be surprised," Rodimus commented, making a gesture that was the Autobot equivalent of eye rolling. "There are actually a lot of people who manage to overlook me." He reached down and lifted the group onto the desk.
Harper touched the silver metal of Rodimus's hand. It was actually quite warm, and vibrated slightly, in time to the pulsing of his laser core. He realized that it wasn't ordinary metal. It was different. It was living metal, something he'd only heard about in theories. The metal felt as if it were alive.
"I think Harper found something interesting," Beka noted, gazing at the engineer.
"If he's interested in Transformer biology I'll drop him off with Perceptor and First Aid." Rodimus watched Harper inspect one of his joints. "They'd love to have him."
"Our chief medic. He succeeded Ratchet as CMO."
Skyfire left to resume his duties. Rodimus put the group down on his desk and summoned Perceptor.
The scientist walked in. The humans and humanoids looked up.
Perceptor was mainly red, with powder-blue legs and forearms. His helmet was black with a gold crest. There was a long microscope lens barrel on his left shoulder. There was a white marking on his chestplate, just above his faction insignia. He smiled at the group as he approached the desk. His grin widened as he watched Harper pull Rodimus's hand down to inspect the delicate joints of his fingers and the larger wrist joint.
"So, how did you get here?" Rodimus asked.
"The same way you ended up on the Andromeda," Dylan answered. "A dimensional breach."
Rodimus sighed. "Those breaches are real pains at times. You picked the worst time to end up here. We're in the middle of a period of nasty and frequent Decepticon activity. They've attacked Autobase directly four times in the last week and a half. So this is a really bad time."
"It's not like we had much of a choice," Harper told him. "A Magog scout ship blew up, setting off its entire load of ammo and ripping the breach open. Andromeda was badly damaged in the attack, so we couldn't get away from the breach before it grabbed us."
Rodimus nodded and reached for the comm unit. "Moonbase One, this is Rodimus."
"Moonbase One, Scattershot speaking."
"Did you just haul a damaged ship into the dock?"
"We did. She's pretty mauled."
"Will do. Moonbase One out."
"Thank you," Rommie told him.
"You are welcome. Now let's start working on a way to get you home."
The Andromeda crew were assigned guest rooms in the wing set aside for humans and humanoids. Harper found his way to Perceptor's lab and disappeared inside. Rhade, after some exploring, ended up in the gym. Dylan hung around Rodimus, while Rommie vanished in Autobase's extensive library.
After a week, the repairs to Andromeda were well underway. Perceptor had located the dimensional breach.
"It's closed?" Beka repeated.
Perceptor nodded. "It is. We are trying to find another way to get you home. If all else fails we will have to blow the breach open, as you did to help us get home."
Before anyone else could say a word, sirens began to scream through the corridors of Autobase. Red lights began to flash. Rodimus swore heatedly in Cybertronian.
"What's going on?" Dylan demanded.
"We're under attack!"
The Andromeda crew scrambled to the walls and looked outside.
A wave of robots appeared over the ruins. Weapons fire pounded the ground. Autobase shook as the Decepticons opened fire on the walls.
"Autobots, attack!" Rodimus roared.
Laser fire screamed though the air. The explosions of bombs and missiles was deafening. The roaring of jet engines and Galvatron's insane cackling only added to the din. The noise was so loud that the Transformers had to start using their internal comlinks to communicate.
Dylan gripped the edge of the slit portal. He'd thought the Magog were bad. The Decepticons packed far more firepower than any Magog ship, and were even more inclined to senseless destruction.
A terrible scream made him jump and turn to find the source.
One of the Autobots had been hit by a combined blast from Galvatron and Cyclonus. Fragments of shattered armor flew in all directions as the Autobot fell backward off the wall, landing hard on the fortress courtyard. Dylan scrambled to the edge of the walkway and looked down at the badly wounded Autobot.
The gasoline-like fluid the Transformers used for blood was pouring out of his shattered body, spraying out in all directions from the major fuel lines. The strong smell of the fluid hit like a tidal wave. The Autobot's hands clawed at the air, then went slack. The blood flow slowed to a trickle. The furious sparks shooting from damaged circuitry eased off. The sharp crackle of overloading power conduits crested, and there was a small explosion from somewhere inside the Autobot's body. The Autobot's back arced, blood poured from his mouth, and then he went limp. The light in his optics went out. His brightly-colored armor faded to grey.
He was dead.
The other Autobots, seeing that their comrade had died, let out a furious roar and redoubled their counterattack. Massed fire began taking its toll on the Decepticons. They began dropping like flies under the furious attack. Finally even Galvatron realized that they were beaten and called for a retreat. The surviving Decepticons pulled out and ran, pursued by the flying Autobots. The Aerialbots, Sky Lynx, Skyfire, and the other fliers chased the Decepticons into space. The Decepticon retreat lost any semblance of order and became a mindless scramble to get away from the enraged Autobots.
The battle was over.
The air reeked of burned metal and the ozone smell of plasma fire. Smoke rose from the fortress's walls. The ruined city had been nearly flattened by the attack. Inside Autobase's walls, the dominant smell was the smell of Transformer blood, mingled with the smell of overheated weapons and scorched paint. Exhausted Autobots were staggering into the compound. The fliers were so tired that they nearly crashed as they were landing.
Dylan reached out and touched the wall. He quickly yanked his hand back. The wall was searing hot from the laser fire that had been thrown against it. Slowly, he walked down the human-sized steps to join the Autobots around their dead comrade.
"Who was he?" Dylan asked Rodimus.
"New recruit from the underground resistance. I never caught his name. He just showed up one day."
The repair work on Andromeda was temporarily suspended while repairs were made to Autobase's defenses, and the dead Autobot was lain to rest in the underground crypt. Once Autobase was back in working order, more or less, repairs to Andromeda resumed.
"How are the repairs coming?" Trance asked.
"Slowly," Dylan answered. "They have to fabricate new parts to replace the ones that were destroyed by the Magog, and mix the alloys to repair the hull. The fabrication process takes time. Since the parts are so small it isn't easy for beings the size of the Autobots to work with them. The alloy has to be carefully prepared, and every step in the mixing process must be monitored. If not the metal will be flawed. The flawed metal may not be able to withstand the extreme cold of space or the speeds of slipstream. We don't want our hull shattering in slipstream. So the Autobots must be careful."
She nodded. "They are a fascinating people. I've never heard of a race capable of surviving a war of this magnitude. Springer told me that the war has escalated in the last two decades, and especially during the last few years. The attacks have become more frequent, but the Decepticons have been fairly easy to drive away. According to Springer, Galvatron is completely insane, and that keeps him from winning any major victories."
"He's insane all right."
"Rodimus told me that Galvatron was created from Megatron's dying body by Unicron, and went insane when Unicron died. He beats up on his own troops, and the Decepticons have nearly mutinied several times. With a madman like Galvatron in control I'm not surprised."
Dylan nodded his agreement.
Perceptor walked out of his lab. He headed to Rodimus's office.
"The only way to get them home is to blow the breach open," he said bluntly.
"How soon can it be opened?"
"I will need several days to build the necessary explosives and calculate the correct positioning for them to get the most effect. And repairs to the Andromeda will take at least another two weeks to complete."
"Get to work on the explosives," Rodimus told him.
Ultra Magnus leaned against the back of his mate's chair, rubbing the smaller bot's neck and shoulders soothingly. Rodimus sighed and leaned back into his hands, rubbing his temples. Robots couldn't get headaches, but he was as close to one as any robot could get.
"Relax," Magnus rumbled softly.
"I wish I could."
A wicked smile crossed Magnus's face. "I know something that could help."
Rodimus shot his mate a suspicious look. Magnus smiled innocently, then led his mate to their shared quarters. In the privacy of their bedroom, Magnus convinced his mate and leader to relax and rest.
Two weeks passed quickly. Finally, Andromeda was fully repaired, and Perceptor had built the explosives.
"It's been nice seeing you again," Dylan told Rodimus.
"Likewise." Rodimus grinned down at him. Magnus, purring softly, leaned against his mate. Dylan grinned up at the tall Autobot.
"I see all is well in your love life," he commented with a grin.
Rodimus mirrored the grin. "Yeah. We're tight. The others don't mind. They actually conspired to get us together. Now we're joined at the hip, so to speak."
Dylan grinned up at him, the said his goodbyes and boarded Skyfire for the flight up to Moonbase One. Rodimus watched the red and white jet take off, feeling Magnus sneak an arm around his waist.
Skyfire let Dylan and the others out, then transformed and walked them back to the docking tube. Rommie was waiting for them.
"Thank you for all your help, Skyfire."
The big robot ducked his head slightly, the Transformer equivalent of an embarrassed blush. "It was nothing. Happy to be of service. I'm glad I met you."
"As am I."
Skyfire knelt down, extending one finger. Dylan held it and carefully shook hands with the big jet. Then he followed his crew onto the Andromeda.
"Docking tube detaching," Beka reported. "Engines online."
"Those Autobots do a really sweet repair job," Harper commented.
"I find it amazing that creatures so large can do such fine work," Rhade said from his position.
"You have your earplugs?" Dylan asked. "Remember what happened the last time we crossed the dimensional barrier?"
Rhade held up his earplugs. "I have them right here. I do remember what happened the last time. That noise wreaked hell on my hearing."
"Exiting shuttle bay," Beka cut in as she piloted the Andromeda out of Moonbase One's vast shuttle bay and into open space. Skyfire soared past them, swooping and diving around the ship. Then he veered off and returned to the base.
"Goodbye," Dylan murmured.
The explosives detonated.
The passage through the dimensional breach was every bit as rough as they remembered. This time they had earplugs to block out the sound. When they returned to normal space, they were hovering in the middle of a cloud of debris from a Magog scout ship.
"We're home," Beka declared.
In the other dimension, Rodimus stood atop Autobase's gates, staring out into space to where the dimensional breach had been. He hoped the Andromeda had found their way safely home.
Strong arms circled his torso as his mate came up behind him.
"They'll be fine," Magnus breathed in his ear. "You know they will. They can take care of themselves."
"I know, I know. But it doesn't stop me from worrying."
Magnus hummed softly. "Then let's take your mind off those worries."
Rodimus shot his mate a look. Magnus chuckled at his expression and led him inside.